Chronic Nasal Congestion, more casually referred to as stuffy nose, occurs when excess fluid appears when nasal and adjacent tissues become swollen. This is what leads to you having the “stuffy” sensation in your nose. The nasal and adjacent tissues becoming swollen can be caused by several factors, which include allergies, various irritants, and tobacco smoke. Rarely, a condition called nonallergic rhinitis can occur, where you have a runny nose for none of the reasons mentioned before.
Less commonly, nasal congestion can be caused by polyps or a tumor, but this only occurs for few people.
Causes of Chronic Nasal Congestion
Potential causes of nasal congestion include:
- Acute sinusitis
- Chronic sinusitis
- Churg-Strauss syndrome
- Common cold
- Decongestant nasal spray overuse
- Deviated septum
- Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
- Dry air
- Enlarged adenoids
- Foreign body in the nose
- Hormonal changes
- Influenza (flu)
- Medications, such as high blood pressure drugs
- Nasal polyps
- Nonallergic rhinitis
- Occupational asthma
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
- Thyroid disorders
- Tobacco smoke
- Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis)
Even though there are several causes of chronic nasal congestion, there are also several simple treatments that can be used to easily soothe the condition.
Treatments for Chronic Nasal Congestion
Most remedies for chronic nasal congestion are relatively short-term, depending on the strength of the irritation for the condition. Treatments may include using a humidifier, which can reduce sinus pain. Constant hydration is also recommended, as it helps thin the mucus in the nasal passage.
When should I go to a Doctor?
For most, a common stuffy nose is usually seen as just an annoyance, but for infants, it becomes a much more serious problem. If an infant that is 2 months or younger is experiencing a fever, go to the doctor. A runny nose for infants can cause trouble nursing and can even make breathing difficult for them. For others, if your symptoms last for more than 10 days and you have a high fever, it is then recommended to call a doctor.